To meet the new guidelines of the European Parliament, which has agreed to a quota of 42.5% of energy from renewables by 2030, a massive development of these technologies will be necessary, both for their use in the industry and in other sectors. According to data collected in the FIE2023 Conclusions Report published this morning, there is still a long way to go, given that the Catalan industrial sector currently consumes only 10.1% of energy from renewable sources.
The report, prepared by the Foro Industria y Energía, points out the limited presence of renewables in Catalonia compared to the Spanish average, along with the expected dismantling of nuclear power plants that supply a significant portion of the industry with energy. This brings the need to develop up to 12,000 additional MW of renewables, according to data from the Energy Prospect of Catalonia (PROENCAT 2050), in addition to the necessary storage systems to ensure supply security.
The report highlights that this challenge presents significant opportunities for the industrial and energy sectors and adds that in order to achieve these goals, large energy generation projects will be necessary, requiring public-private collaboration and a comprehensive approach to industrial energy management.
The text emphasizes the crucial role of energy in the competitiveness of the industry. As Roger Torrent, the Minister of Business and Labor of the Government of Catalonia, stated during FIE2023, “in the path of reindustrialization, energy is an essential vector. If we want to ensure the competitiveness of our companies and be even more attractive for foreign investment, the energy pathway is a fundamental element.”
In the same vein, José Montilla, former President of the Government of Catalonia, added that “for industrial investments, competitiveness is an essential element, for which a series of conditions must be met: availability of capital, professional qualifications, affordable energy supply, and political stability.”
Industrial Production Decline and Energy Sovereignty
The text highlights the decline in industrial production since the beginning of the Ukraine war, which has dropped by 22% in energy-intensive sectors in the Eurozone. In addition, industrial turnover in Spain has decreased by 18% from January to June 2023, while Catalonia has had two quarters with negative GDP. These data demonstrate the influence of price fluctuations and energy supply uncertainty on industrial competitiveness and underscore the importance of energy sovereignty.
As Artur Mas, former President of the Government of Catalonia, pointed out, the war “has shown that not having energy sovereignty, not only at the scale of Catalonia, Spain, or the Peninsula but at least in the EU, can come at a high price.” The report thus emphasizes the importance of advancing toward energy sovereignty at the European level, “whose keys would be diversification, flexibility, and preventing new energy dependencies,” explained Salvador Illa, the Opposition Leader of Catalonia.
Energy Transition and Industrial Competitiveness
The text outlines the conditions that the industrial sector considers necessary to carry out the energy transition while maintaining and increasing industrial competitiveness. First, it is crucial to develop clear regulation that meets the “security, accessibility, and sustainability” trilemma and eliminates barriers, such as those that exist, for example, in energy communities and closed energy distribution networks.
On the other hand, it calls for the simplification of bureaucratic procedures so that renewable projects can progress at the necessary pace. Other necessary conditions to successfully carry out the energy transition encompass local engagement, involving municipalities and local organizations in decision-making, and a resolute commitment to advancing renewables. This commitment should be reinforced with transitional technologies and storage systems, not only to replace existing energy but to electrify more, which makes high-voltage power lines necessary.
Download the full report in PDF.